China Fu Restaurant up at Canning Circus on Alfreton Road has that ‘authentic’ or should I say ‘slightly worn out’ look about it when you walk on by. I had often looked curiously at the menu as I was heading into out of the Organ Grinder pub on the other side of the road and wondered if I could get some ‘real’ Chinese food there?
The menu certainly does imply that this a place for the diner seeking authentic local Chinese dishes as opposed to the bastardised versions typically served to the hungry westerner. Just a quick glance down the cold starter section tells us that with the offerings of ‘Marinated Pig Ear with Chilli Oil’, ‘Pig Feet Seasoned with Soy Sauce’ and ‘Pig Head with Chilli Oil’. They do know how to use the whole animal and they know how to use it very well indeed.
I myself have indulged in those dishes in the past, but will admit that I also am more familiar and happy with the other pork dishes on their menu such as the Gulaoru (essentially Sweet and Sour Pork with Fat), and the Braised Dong Po Pork (basically braised pork belly)
This time though I was looking for one of my ‘go to’ favourites the Sichuan classis Ma Po Tofu. I was in luck and it was their on the menu, so I ordered that
Ma Po Tofu
Ma Po Tofu is essentially Stir Fried Tofu in a Hot Sauce. It is often mouth numbingly spicy and can be both a joyful and somewhat painful treat to eat. That sounds like the words of a sadomasochistic diner perhaps, but far from it. The truly Authentic Mapo doufu dish is described as being powerfully spicy with both characteristic of the flavours of Sichuan cuisine. The feel of this particular dish is often described by cooks using the seven specific Chinese adjectives: 麻 (numbing), 辣 (spicy hot), 烫 (hot temperature), 鲜 (fresh), 嫩 (tender and soft), 香 (aromatic), and 酥 (flaky).
It is a complex beast that when done right can be quite a breathtaking experience.
OK so does the dish here at China Fu match my hopes, dreams, and expectations? Well yes and no, it was good but not as good as the Mo Po Tofu that I ate at Shanghai Shanghai. It was not as hot as I would have liked and the sauce was not as clean and fresh as I have had before. This sauce here was a little thicker and more gravy like, with plenty of hot spices in it, but not really cooked through enough to bring the whole dish to life. It was good just not as good as I had had elsewhere would be my summation of the experience.
China Fu is located at 10 Alfreton Road in Nottingham NG7 3NG